Radical Beekeeper Michael Thiele Ventures Into New Territory

...know from science about bees with an intuitive relationship with bees as a whole, and complex, organism. Thiele uses an old German word Steiner also used to describe a beehive: “bien”. On his website, Gaia Bees, Thiele defines bien as an attempt to describe the oneness of the bee colony, [that] also recognizes its individual “personality”. The honey bee colony is one being in countless bodies. The biological term for this is super-or...

Continue reading…

Poo Salon and Urban Forage Classes with Nancy Klehm

...rea, this is a chance not to be missed. First, who is Nancy? Nancy Klehm is a radical ecologist, designer, urban forager, grower and teacher. Her solo and collaborative work focuses on creating participatory social ecologies in response to a direct experience of a place. She grows and forages much of her own food in a densely urban area. She actively composts food, landscape and human waste. She only uses a flush toilet when no other option...

Continue reading…

Scott’s Pepsi-G Stove

...ve got a backup in case one fails to work. Mrs. Homegrown here: I thought I’d toss in a little more detail for those of you unfamiliar with the concept. A Pepsi can stove is tiny and very light weight, good for two things–ultralight backpacking and as a simple cooking device for what some people call a bug out bag–emergency gear that is ready to grab and go. I’ve taken one with me backpacking, as my only stove. It works f...

Continue reading…

How to Make Amazake

...supermarket. Koji can also be found at some health food stores or you can mail order it from G.E.M cultures. We used a brand called Cold Mountain. 2. Bring 1 cup of white or brown rice to a boil in 2 cups of water. Turn down the heat and simmer for 50 minutes. We used sweet rice, but any kind of rice and if fact almost any grain will work. 3. Cool the rice down to 140º F (60º C). Mix in 2 cups of koji and put it in a sterilized wide-mouth j...

Continue reading…

Processing and Winnowing Flax

...t came time to harvest said flax I pondered creating the world’s smallest piece of linen. Lacking the time for that process, I opted to simply harvest the seeds. I used a block of coconut coir to smash the seed heads against a piece of newspaper. Next came time for winnowing the flax. I used a fan and had to winnow multiple times to get the chaff out. Alas, there was still quite a bit of chaff. Remembering that I had some 1/8 inch hardwa...

Continue reading…

Failed Experiment: Bermuda Buttercup or Sour Grass (Oxalis pes-caprae) as Dye

...hat the mordant quantities in the book were figured in relation to the fabric weight. That doesn’t account for the measurement of water– the dilution factor–which seems a bit dodgy. Water quantity, as you will recall, is just enough to “cover” the herbs.  For the record, I believe I used 3 tsp of both alum and cream of tartar in the first round, for t-shirt #1, then added 3 tsp of iron for round 2. But how much water...

Continue reading…

What is Killing the Bees?

...getting closer with the release of a study from the University of Maryland about fungicides and other chemicals used in agriculture. This study is more interesting than many others I’ve seen. It looked at how pesticides interfere with honeybee’s resistance to a common parasite Nosema ceranae. Bees exposed to a widely used agricultural fungicide, chlorothonatil, were more likely to succumb to nosema. The most provocative result for me...

Continue reading…

The Cat Poop Portal: Litter Box Composting, Installment #1

...ile. It needs to be kept in a separate pile that is managed more carefully. The biggest challenge in this scheme for us was figuring out where to put yet another compost container. Our yard is already overrun with barrels and bins. Worse, when we thought it through, we realized we needed room for not just one compost bin, but at least two, maybe three, because of the aging issue.You know, fill one up, set it aside, start on another. The barrels p...

Continue reading…

The Art of Memory

We need a term for superfluous smart phone trivia Googling. After all, with the vast archive of factoids on the interwebs who needs to remember anything anymore? But what do we miss by externalizing all of our memories into an electronic form.  What about those bards of the past who could recite thousands of lines of poetry, or the Greek rhetoricians who could speak for hours at a time without notes? Thankfully the basics of the lost art of mem...

Continue reading…

Citified Parched Corn

...e bottom of the pan with a single layer of dried corn. Sprinkle in some salt, spice or sugar if you like. I just used a little salt. Shake or stir the skillet pretty constantly, as you would for popcorn, so the corn gets toasted on all sides. It happens fast. Do not leave the stove! These citified nibblets won’t swell and crack like whole corn, but they will dance a little in the pan. Take the corn to a nice toasty golden brown, dump that b...

Continue reading…